Title:
Secondary Package
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to a secondary package for gathering a plurality of primary packages, comprising an envelope that surrounds the plurality of primary packages so as to tightly hold the latter together, said envelope comprising a base supporting the primary packages, lateral sides, and a top side, characterized in that: (i) said base comprises a medium folding line that pivotally connects two halves of the base supporting the primary packages, and further comprises a carrying handle that is disposed vertically along the medium folding line, and (ii) the lateral sides and the top side of the envelope comprise a transversal precut in the region of the medium folding line, and so that when the envelope is open along said precut, it still holds tightly the primary packages disposed on each of the two base halves and said halves can be pivoted around the medium folding line to allow complete access to the carrying handle.



Inventors:
Cerveny, Jean-paul (Vittel, FR)
Hartwig, Klaus (Nancy, FR)
Application Number:
11/916601
Publication Date:
09/25/2008
Filing Date:
06/02/2006
Assignee:
NESTLE WATERS MANAGEMENT & TECHNOLOGY (Issy-les-Moulineaux, FR)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/497
International Classes:
B65D71/08; B65D71/10
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
BUI, LUAN KIM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
K&L Gates LLP-Chicago (P.O. Box 1135, Chicago, IL, 60690, US)
Claims:
1. A secondary package for a plurality of primary packages, comprising an envelope that surrounds the plurality of primary packages the secondary package comprising: a generally flat configuration, the envelope comprising a base side supporting the primary packages, lateral sides, and a top side; the base comprises a folding line that pivotally connects two portions of the envelope supporting the primary packages, the lateral sides and the top side of the envelope comprise a transversal predetermined weakness line in the region of the folding line, such that when the envelope is at least partially opened along the weakness line, it still holds tightly the primary packages disposed on each of the two portions and the portions can be pivoted around the folding line to allow compaction of the secondary package from its flat, unfolded, configuration into a compact configuration.

2. A secondary package according to claim 1, wherein the predetermined weakness line is a precut line.

3. A secondary package according to claim 2, wherein the folding line is located in a middle portion of the base.

4. A secondary package according to claim 2, wherein the base comprises a carrying handle that is disposed vertically between the portions of the envelope.

5. A secondary package according to claim 4, wherein the carrying handle is disposed in the envelope, such that it is accessible only after the secondary package is folded in its compacted configuration.

6. A secondary package according to claim 4, wherein the handle is a strip that is fixed along the medium folding line of the envelope base.

7. A secondary package according to claim 4, wherein the handle is glued to the external surface of the envelope, the precut comprising two precut lines that are substantially parallel to one another.

8. A secondary package according to claim 1, wherein the base of the envelope is reinforced by an independent secondary base.

9. A secondary package according to claim 2, wherein the secondary base is made out of a corrugated plastic board.

10. A secondary package according to claim 2, wherein the secondary base is rigid.

11. A secondary package according to claim 1, wherein portions of the envelope base are symmetrical along the folding line.

12. A secondary package according to claim 1, wherein the envelope is made out of a thermoshrinkable film.

13. A secondary package according to claim 1, wherein the envelope is a net.

14. A secondary package according to claim 1, wherein the primary packages are water-containing plastic bottles.

15. A secondary package for gathering a plurality of primary packages, comprising: a horizontal flat base for supporting at least some of said plurality of primary packages, and an envelope that surrounds the base and the plurality of primary packages so as to tightly hold the plurality of primary packages together; the base comprises a medium folding line that pivotally connects two halves of the base supporting the primary packages, and further comprises a carrying handle that is disposed vertically between the base halves, along the medium folding line, and the envelope comprises a transversal precut in the region of the medium folding line, at least along the lateral sides and the top side of the secondary package, so that when the envelope is open along the precut, it still holds tightly the primary packages disposed on each of the two base halves, and the halves can be pivoted around the medium folding line to allow access to the carrying handle.

16. A secondary package according to claim 15, wherein the base is made out of a single die cut that comprises two secondary folding lines each disposed in one half of the base, the secondary folding lines being parallel and equidistant from the medium folding line of the base, two holes being symmetrically disposed between the medium and secondary folding lines, the handle being formed by folding the die cut along the medium and secondary folding lines.

17. A secondary package according to claim 16, wherein the two portions of the base forming the handle are glued together.

18. A secondary package according to claim 15, wherein the shape of the flat base corresponds to the contours of the envelope, the width W of the base in the region of the medium folding line being inferior to the maximum width Wmax of each half of the base.

19. A secondary package according to claim 15, wherein the handle is a strip that is fixed along the medium folding line of the base.

20. A secondary package according to claim 15, wherein both halves of the base are symmetrical along the medium folding line.

21. A secondary package according to claim 15, wherein the envelope is made out of a thermoshrinkable film.

22. A secondary package according to claim 15, wherein the base is made out of a corrugated plastic board.

23. A secondary package according to claim 15, wherein the horizontal flat base is rigid.

24. A secondary package according to claim 15, wherein the primary packages are water-containing plastic bottles.

25. A secondary package for holding a plurality of primary packages comprising: an envelope that surrounds the plurality of primary packages having a generally flat configuration, the envelope comprising a base side supporting the primary packages, lateral sides, and a top side; the base comprises a folding line that pivotally connects two portions of the envelope supporting the primary packages; and the lateral sides and the top side of the envelope comprise a predetermined weakness line in the region of the folding line, such that when the envelope is at least partially opened along the weakness line, it still holds the primary packages disposed on each of the two portions and the portions can be pivoted around the folding line.

Description:

The present invention relates to a package, preferably a film package, for gathering a plurality of primary containers, such as bottles, that comprises an integrated handle.

In the field of gathering packages, the prior art shows packages to group a plurality of primary containers such as for example water bottles, or metal cans. These known packages are typically made out of a shrinkable film that is rolled around the set of bottles and heat-treated so as to shrink around the bottles to tightly hold them together. Once gathered, the primary packages, for example the bottles, form a pack.

In the following description, it will be considered for the sake of clarity that the gathering package is made out of a shrinkable film, and the primary packages are plastic bottles. However, this limitation should not be considered as restricting the scope of the invention. Other types of materials than shrinkable plastic film may also be used for the gathering package, and other types of primary packages than plastic bottles may be gathered.

The interest of such film gathering packages has been known for long, and is a consumer must to facilitate handling and transportation of a set of primary containers.

Some of the known film gathering packages comprise a handle that is glued onto the outer surface of the film by means of adhesive tape for example.

These known film gathering packages show good reliability for consumers because they provide good gathering of the primary containers—for example bottles of mineral water—and the handle facilitates handling.

However, when a consumer is being shopping and wishes to transport the pack of bottles into a shopping trolley, it is necessary to place the pack into the trolley. However, such a pack is usually quite bulky and a lot of space into the trolley is lost for filling with other products.

Therefore, a need exists for a package for gathering a plurality of primary packages, that is easy to handle and that can be arranged in a shopping trolley in such a way that a maximum of space remains available into said trolley.

The present invention addresses the problems set out above with a secondary package for gathering a plurality of primary packages, comprising an envelope that surrounds the plurality of primary packages so as to tightly hold the latter together and so that said secondary package has a generally flat configuration, said envelope comprising a base side supporting the primary packages, lateral sides, and a top side.

According to the invention, the secondary package is characterized in that:

    • its base comprises a folding line that pivotally connects two portions of the envelope supporting the primary packages,
    • the lateral sides and the top side of the envelope comprise a transversal predetermined weakness line in the region of the folding line, such that when the envelope is at least partially opened along said weakness line, it still holds tightly the primary packages disposed on each of the two portions and said portions can be pivoted around the folding line to allow compaction of the secondary package from its flat, unfolded, configuration into a compact configuration.

Preferably, the predetermined weakness line is a precut line, and also preferably, the folding line is located in the medium part of the base.

In a highly preferred embodiment of the present invention, the base of the secondary package comprises a carrying handle that is disposed vertically between the portions of the envelope.

In this case, said carrying handle is more preferably disposed in said envelope, such that it is accessible only after said secondary package is folded in its compacted configuration.

Said handle can be a strip that is fixed along the medium folding line of the envelope base.

In an embodiment of the invention, said handle can be glued to the external surface of the envelope, the precut comprising two precut lines that are substantially parallel to one another.

In all cases, the base of the envelope is preferably reinforced by an independent secondary base.

In this case, said secondary base can be made out of a corrugated plastic board, and is preferably rigid.

In another embodiment of the invention, the portions of the envelope base are symmetrical along the folding line.

Preferably, said envelope is made out of a thermoshrinkable film.

In an alternative embodiment, said envelope is a net.

The present invention is preferably meant to be used such that the primary packages are water-containing plastic bottles.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the secondary package is a secondary package for gathering a plurality of primary packages, comprising a horizontal flat base for supporting at least some of said plurality of primary packages, and an envelope that surrounds the base and the plurality of primary packages so as to tightly hold the latter together characterized in that:

(i) said base comprises a medium folding line that pivotally connects two halves of the base supporting the primary packages, and further comprises a carrying handle that is disposed vertically between the base halves, along the medium folding line, and

(ii) said envelope comprises a transversal precut in the region of the folding line, at least along the lateral sides and the top side of the secondary package, so that when the envelope is open along said precut, it still holds tightly the primary packages disposed on each of the two base halves, and said halves can be pivoted around the medium folding line to allow access to the carrying handle.

As can be understood from the above, the secondary package according to the present invention is particularly advantageous as it allows several types of uses, as explained in detail in the following detailed description of one particular example of the present invention.

In a highly preferred embodiment of the present invention, the base is made out of a single die cut that comprises two secondary folding lines each disposed in one half of the base, said secondary folding lines being parallel and equidistant from the medium folding line of the base, two holes being symmetrically disposed between the medium and secondary folding lines, said handle being formed by folding the die cut along the medium and secondary folding lines.

According to this preferred embodiment, the vertical handle that is disposed between the base halves that support the primary packages, is made in one piece and is integral with the rest of the base. This manufacturing solution is particularly cost-effective and simple to assemble in the factory.

Also, in a highly preferred embodiment of the present invention, the shape of the flat base corresponds to the contours of the envelope, the width of the base in the region of the medium folding line, being inferior to the maximum width of each half of said base.

In this case, the flat base is prevented from slipping out of the rest of the secondary package when the precut has been used to open the envelope in two halves and the secondary package is in the open configuration.

Alternatively, said handle could be made out of a strip that is fixed along the medium folding line of the base.

In one embodiment of the present invention, both halves of the base are symmetrical along the medium folding line.

Furthermore, the envelope of the secondary package is preferably made out of a thermoshrinkable film, and/or said base is preferably made out of a corrugated plastic board. However, another material could be used, such as a reinforced cardboard sheet, so that it is especially resistant to traction forces, and also humidity proof.

In a preferred embodiment, the flat base is rigid.

Additional features and advantages of the present invention are described in, and will be apparent from, the description of the presently preferred embodiments which are set out below with reference to the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective top view of a secondary package according to one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a bottom view of a secondary package according to one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective top view of a secondary package according to one embodiment of the invention in a partially unfolded state;

FIG. 4 is a perspective top view of a secondary package according to one embodiment of the invention in a completely unfolded state, with a completely accessible carrying handle;

FIG. 5 is a similar view to FIG. 1 showing another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 6 is a similar view to FIG. 3 showing another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 7 is a similar view to FIG. 4 showing another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 8 is a schematic top view of a plurality of secondary packages of the invention, disposed adjacent to one another in a pallet layer;

FIG. 9 is a perspective top view of a secondary package according to the invention;

FIG. 10 is a side view of a secondary package according to the invention

FIG. 11 is a top view of a secondary package according to the invention;

FIG. 12 is a bottom view of a secondary package according to the invention;

FIG. 13 is a perspective top view of a secondary package according to the invention in a partially unfolded state;

FIG. 14 is a perspective top view of a secondary package according to the invention in a completely unfolded state and accessible carrying handle;

FIG. 15 is a side view similar to FIG. 6;

FIG. 16 is a top view of the base of a secondary package according to the invention;

FIG. 17 is a schematic top view of a plurality of secondary packages of the invention, disposed adjacent to one another in a pallet layer.

The secondary package 1 according to the invention, as shown in FIG. 1, is meant for gathering a plurality of primary packages 2. In the particular embodiment as described hereafter in detail, the primary packages are plastic bottles 2 containing water.

The secondary package 1 according to the present invention comprises an envelope 3 that surrounds the plurality of primary packages 2 so as to tightly hold the latter together.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, said envelope 2 comprises a base 4 supporting the primary packages 2, as well as lateral sides 5, and a top side 6.

According to the invention, the base 4 of the envelope 3 comprises a medium folding line 7 that pivotally connects two halves 8a, 8b of the base 4 supporting the primary packages. The base 4 further comprises a carrying handle 9 that is disposed vertically along the medium folding line.

Also according to the present invention, the lateral sides 5 and the top side 6 of the envelope 3 comprise a transversal precut 10 in the region of the medium folding line 7, as shown in FIG. 1 or 5.

Therefore, as shown in FIGS. 3, 4, 6 and 7, when the envelope 3 is open along said precut 10, said envelope 3 still holds tightly the primary packages 2 disposed on each of the two base halves 8a, 8b, and said halves can be pivoted around the medium folding line 7 in order to allow complete access to the carrying handle 9.

By “complete” access to the carrying handle it is meant that, although said handle is disposed outside of the envelope, when the secondary package is in its closed configuration, i.e. when the precut line has not been broken, the handle is not really accessible for the consumer because it is tightly adapted to the envelope and there is almost no gap between said handle and said envelope. Therefore, the consumer cannot insert is hand between said envelope and said handle, in order to grab the latter. On the contrary, when the precut has been broken and the secondary package is in its open configuration as illustrated in FIG. 7, said handle is clear from the envelope and therefore completely accessible to the consumer.

In one first embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 4, the base 4 of the envelope 3 is reinforced by an independent secondary base 11.

In this particular embodiment of the invention, said secondary base 11 is made out of a rigid corrugated plastic board. Furthermore, in this first embodiment of the invention, the precut 10 comprises two precut lines 10a, 10b that are substantially parallel to one another.

In a second embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIGS. 5, 6, and 7, the base 4 of the envelope 3 is not reinforced and comprises solely the material making the whole envelope. The carrying handle 9 is a strip of thick film that surrounds said envelope 3, and that is attached to the latter by glue that is disposed at the interface between said handle and said envelope, in the base region of said envelope.

In both embodiments of the invention described hereinbefore, both halves 8a, 8b of the envelope base 4 are symmetrical along the medium folding line 7.

Furthermore, the envelope 3 is made out of a thermoshrinkable film.

As can be seen in FIG. 8, the disposition of the water bottles 2 on the base 4, and the fact that the contours of said base 4 is adapted to the disposition of the water bottles, makes it convenient to place several secondary packages of the invention, such that adjacent secondary packages are interlocked. This allows for building compact and strong layers of secondary packages in a pallet.

The secondary package 21 according to another embodiment of the present invention, as shown in FIG. 9, is also meant for gathering a plurality of primary packages 22. In the particular embodiment as described hereafter in detail, the primary packages are water containing plastic bottles 22.

The secondary package 21 comprises a horizontal rigid flat base 23 made out of corrugated plastic board, for supporting said water bottles 22. The secondary package 21 further comprises an envelope 24 that surrounds the base 23. The envelope 24 is heat shrinkable thermoplastic envelope tightly holds the bottles 22 together.

According to the invention, the secondary package 21 is characterized in that:

(i) the base 23 comprises a medium folding line 25 that pivotally connects two halves 23a, 23b of the base supporting the primary packages 22—both halves of the base being symmetrically disposed across the folding line 25—, and said base 23 further comprises a carrying handle 26 that is disposed vertically between the base halves 3a, 3b, along the medium folding line 25, and

(ii) the envelope 24 comprises a transversal precut 27 in the region of the medium folding line 25, along the lateral sides 28 and the top side 29 of the secondary package 21, so that when the envelope 24 is open along said precut 27, it still holds tightly the primary packages 22 disposed on each of the two base halves 23a, 23b, and said halves 23a, 23b can be pivoted around the medium folding line 25 to allow access to the carrying handle 26, as shown in FIGS. 13 and 14.

As can be understood from the above, the secondary package 21 according to the present invention is particularly advantageous as it allows at least three different types of configurations and uses.

Firstly, as shown in FIGS. 9 to 12, when the envelope 24 is not open along the precut line 27, the two halves 23a, 23b of the base 23 are in the same plane, and the carrying handle 26 does not protrude from said envelope 24. In this configuration, the profile of the secondary package 21 is generally parallelepipedic and allows for piling several layers of such packages 21 in a pallet for storing and transportation (not represented in the drawings).

Secondly, when a consumer takes the secondary package in a store, the envelope 24 can be open along the precut 27 as shown in FIG. 13, and the two halves 23a, 23b of the base can be pivoted around the medium folding line 25—that is used as a hinge—in order to reveal the carrying handle 26 that becomes accessible to a user. At that time, it is very easy to carry the whole secondary package 21 using the handle 26, and the envelope 24 still holds the water bottles 22 disposed on each half 23a, 23b of the base.

In that case, as can be seen in FIGS. 12, 14 and 16, the shape of the flat base 23 corresponds to the contours of the envelope 24, and the width W of the base 23 in the region of the medium folding line 25 is inferior to the maximum width Wmax of each half 23a, 23b of said base. Therefore, it is impossible for the base 23 to slip outside of the envelope 24 when the latter is open along the precut as shown in FIG. 14.

Also in that case, as shown in FIG. 16, the base 23 is made out of a single die cut that comprises two secondary folding lines 210 each disposed in one half 23a, 23b of the base. These folding lines 210 are parallel and equidistant from the medium folding line 25 of the base 23. Furthermore, two holes 211 are symmetrically disposed between the medium 25 and secondary 210 folding lines, and said handle is formed by folding the die cut of the base 23 along the medium 25 and secondary 210 folding lines. The vertical handle 26 that is disposed between the base halves 23a, 23b that support the primary packages 22, is made in one piece and is integral with the rest of the base 23 as can be seen in FIG. 16.

Thirdly, when a consumer wishes to place the purchased package 21 of water bottles 22 in a trolley (not shown in the drawings), it is easy to place said secondary package 21 astride a side wall of the trolley, such that: one half of the secondary package is disposed inside the trolley, and the other half of the secondary package hangs outside the trolley, so as to save space in the trolley for other purchases.

As can be seen in FIGS. 1 to 4, the envelope 24 of the secondary package 21 is made out of a thermoshrinkable film. Consequently, the envelope 24 does not cover the entire surface of the water bottles 22 held inside, and windows 212 in the envelope 24 are disposed at each extremity of the secondary package 21, as can be seen particularly in FIG. 9.

As can be seen in FIG. 17, the disposition of the water bottles 22 on the base 23, and the fact that the contours of said base 23 is adapted to the disposition of the water bottles, makes it convenient to place several secondary packages of the invention, such that adjacent secondary packages are interlocked. This allows for building compact and strong layers of secondary packages in a pallet.

It should be understood that various changes and modifications to the presently preferred embodiments described herein will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Such changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention and without diminishing its attendant advantages. It is therefore intended that such changes and modifications be covered by the appended claims.